Here

Image: Book Run by Mark A. Harrison

here,
a feather falls faster than a brick
feast and famine are interchangeable
and pens
are all the same colour

what colour they are,
is up to you

here,
frogs can leap by halves and halves
forever
and never fall off the log

what colour the frogs are
is up to you

sometimes,
the dragon’s tale is sharp
and cuts the skin
sometimes
it billows around you like smoke
and you wonder
where the fire is

what colour the dragon is
is up to the dragon

here,
elastic bands are stiff and brittle
and shatter when you pull them
while the dead branch on the ground
pulls and stretches like taffy
sprouting limbs, roots, whole trees
a forest of caramel
all the apples pre-dipped

here, skies are green, grass purple
a magic marker heaven
drawn on thick bristol board
what colour the paper is
is anyone’s guess

-T.H.

Ghost Ships Founder

Gulf Coast Two by Mark A. Harrison

This is where we go II

Ghost ships founder
off the shores of Elysium
we came here to find
the answer to something
lost in the Aether
conceptions stumble,
presumptions fall apart,
like paper in the rain, belief
in the inevitable lost
like leaves in the gutter
no longer individual
but indistinct, irresolute
handholds slipping
the long fall into uncertainty
no longer buoyed by
memories of bliss
Is it fog or billowing smoke
that hides the enemy’s sails?
Is it fate, or blind chance
that becalms us here on
glass still waters?
Only the albatross & the moon know,
only the wheeling gulls and the absent wind
and they’ll never tell.

T.H.

On the Beauty of the Common Rock Dove

Photo by Mark A. Harrison

On the Beauty of the Common Rock Dove

Noble silhouette
against the pale blue sky
under the serene white crescent
of the four o’clock moon

(meanwhile, across town)

A freedom of starlings
congregates below
the peeling green windows
while reflections of flight
in warped bulging glass
give weight to the theory
of glass as a liquid
flowing at the speed
of war between
the sun’s fickle warmth
and the ever-hungry shade

T.H.

Angels with Tommy Guns

Jax by Mark A. Harrison
Photo: Jax by Mark A. Harrison

Wrote this one after seeing a hilariously bad B movie that featured, as you might guess, angels with BFGs.

I dreamed I saw Gabriel
holding a Tommy gun
who knew he fought gangsters
in his spare time
his eyes changing colour in the
shifting light
he walks through the mist like
some dime-store cowboy, like
an anime demon hunter
black coat flapping in the breeze
breaking the rhythm with his
thrift store army boots
scars cover his body like
a maze of tattoos, his
story etched in blood and skin
and ink dark as sin
shedding light, leaking goodness
into darkest corners, from
countless ancient wounds, he’s
an avenger, and a saviour, and
a damn good shot, so you’d
best be on your game
he can see right through your soul
if he lays his hands upon you
you’ll never be the same, so you’d
better run, run and hide
‘cuz luck is something you ain’t got
when god is on the other side.

T.H.

Starfish Supernova

Asteroid Field by Mark A. Harrison
Image: Asteroid Field by Mark A. Harrison

Another one from the archives, for Day 2 of National Poetry Month. This one is clearly meant to be spoken out loud. Imagine a curly-haired beat poet on a cramped stage in some underground dive, with free-form bongos in the background.

Parting the waves for the starfish supernova
oriental carpet fish tickling my toes
Dancing the raves down through asteroid alley
girls holding hands drive the boys insane
You hold your ideals too close to your heart
suffocating them in your tight embrace
You feel too much, so you curl up inside
dwarf star material waiting to explode
You could be birthing galaxies, exhaling nebulae
dangling your feet over the lips of black holes
You could be skating the event horizon
look ma, no hands, no training wheels here
But instead you hunch over this dull white page
gripping the pen like it might try to run
try to make an escape Houdini would be proud of
leaving you only with a ghost of an echo
of a memory of a dream
No way to capture it, bottle it, seal it with wax
But what does it matter?
You weren’t going to share it with anyone anyway
Don’t Bogart those neurons, baby
I want my share, want to go down singing
to the county fair in the wide blue sky
Look out world, here I come
the invisible one with the bitten tongue
and a page full of squiggly black lines.

T.H.

The First Breath of Spring

Photo by Mark A. Harrison

Starting off the first day of National Poetry Month with one that didn’t make it into WTWBT, but feels right for the first day of April, when the snow has receded into only the darkest, coldest corners, the birds are singing non-stop, squirrels are running rampant, and green is sprouting everywhere. But at the same time, in the back of your mind, you know there’s still an ice storm or two on the way before the month is over.

[Original title: Fifteen degrees of February]

When the first breath of spring
catches you up, teases your
heart with false promises,
blushing green peeking from
fresh damp earth, emerging
islands amidst the fast
melting snow; when even
discarded skins of chocolate
bars and dollar store bags
seem to herald new beginnings:
life from destruction, devouring
the old bones, bleeding
ice from the river’s edge.

Even the birds are deceived,
filling the air with distracted chatter,
while free roaming dogs and
preschool children run madly through
the squelching mud, feeling the shift;
and yet, the cynical voice reminds
you that it’s far too soon, winter
won’t let us go that easily.

To hell, you say, with rationality,
and walk faster, as if by
sheer defiance you can escape
the warning howl of the cold
grey clouds, wind pushing you
back into the inevitable grip
of winter.

T.H.

Coming Home the Snow

OutThere-byMarkAHarrison-med

Out There by Mark A. Harrison

Coming home
the snow catches me
pulls at my coat
the wind tugs & pushes
impatient children
tempting me off course
arguing against
my preferred trajectory
A black cloud plunges
boils and plunges, billowing
like smoke, black in the air
white against the windshield
The air fragments
into a million starling flakes
not a murmur, but a roar
a howling tumult
that shatters around me
dissolves into
harmless flecks of white
The air becomes the snow,
the snow, air
Above, improbable patches of blue
race each other across the sky
hell bent for eternity.

– T.H. (April 4, 2018)

The Enkindled Spring, by D.H. Lawrence

GoingOver_byMarkAHarrison_med

Going Over by Mark A. Harrison

The Enkindled Spring
 – D. H. Lawrence (1885 – 1930)

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.